Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally team:

[Francois Duval, car #7 and Matthew Wilson, car #8. Plus Henning Solberg, car #14, Barry Clark, car #20, Steve Perez car #23, Dave Weston, car #24 and Valentino Rossi, car #46]

Francois Duval:

"I'm looking forward to returning to Rally GB because I have had some good results here in the past. Denis [Giraudet] has come in as my replacement co-driver for this rally and I am very thankful to him for this gesture because I think it will help my confidence a lot in my first rally since Japan. I am going to head to the first stage and take it step by step from there. This rally can be very difficult especially if the conditions turn bad and this can have a big influence on the results. I think with the new stages on Friday and the fact I have not done this event since 2006, that it will be very important to get a good set of notes from recce."

Matthew Wilson:

"The plan for GB is to go as quick as possible from the start and try and match the result from last year, if not better it. It is interesting to have some new stages on the Friday and this will spice things up a bit for the opening day. I guess the only down side is that while this is the event we have most experience of, the new stages and the reversed stages from 2007 will mean we'll have to write entirely new notes but this is going to be the same for everybody and for me it's good to have lots of experience of what the conditions will be like. It's a strong field as well but I'm feeling very confident ahead of this one and I think we will know a lot more about the route after recce."

Henning Solberg:

"This year seems like it has gone very quickly and now here we are at the final round of the season. I have done GB a lot of times before but never quite managed to pick up a good result so I will try my best to change that this year. I like the stages in GB and I will try my best on this event and drive as fast as I can. The roads can be difficult at GB but this is my eighth time here so I know what to expect from them. The Focus has been great all year and I have had an especially good felling on gravel."

Barry Clark:

"This is my fourth WRC event of the season and one I have been waiting all year for because it will be on some familiar territory. It's great to be competing under the Stobart banner here in GB and I look forward to competing with some top class team mates who I will be able to learn from. The first day there are some classic stages which I am really looking forward to and hopefully if it stays dry and the conditions consistent, we can put in a quick pace from the start."

Suzuki WRT:

[Toni Gardemeister, car #11 and Per-Gunnar Andersson, car #12]

Toni Gardemeister:

"Britain is a fantastic rally, but so difficult. It's very fast, which I like, and the stages are really interesting. Anything can happen on this rally, so a bit like Japan this is a very good opportunity for us. Reliability will be important but we have managed to achieve this since the middle of the season and we had another good result in Japan, so there's no reason why we can't do the same again. It's definitely possible for us to score some good points in Britain, and that is what we will be aiming to do from the start."

P-G Andersson:

"You really need so much commitment to do well on this rally! The two big hazards are the weather and the surfaces. But I love the challenge, and our strong run in Japan three weeks ago has given us all a lot of confidence. The main thing in Great Britain is to stay out of trouble, but we've learnt a lot this year so I think we should be able to pace ourselves properly in order to get to the finish in the best possible position. I'm really looking forward to it."

Production Car WRC:

Round 8 of 8 - Title decider.

Mitsubishi's Juho Hanninen will go into the Rally GB favourite to take the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship title.

Hanninen took the maximum ten points in Japan last month and now enjoys a six point lead over Andreas Aigner, the only other person still in contention for the P-WRC crown.

"Of course Andreas Aigner is quick but I have been two times to Wales Rally GB and I like it very much," said Hanninen post-Japan. "I will need to push to the maximum and I just need to get the right result."

Aigner is aware that the odds are against him and as such he is planning to go for broke: "There's nothing left to do for me but to go on an all-out attack from the very start," confirmed the Austrian.

"But of course I'm at a disadvantage with Hanninen because I haven't competed in a rally for quite a long time - whereas he's match fit. This could be seen in Japan recently, where he was way back in the early stages, but then clinched the win after all. That's how he got into this very good starting position of his."

In total 25 runners will be able to score P-WRC points, with the likes of Jari Ketomaa, Martin Prokop, Patrik Sandell, Fumio Nutahara and Armindo Araujo all likely to figure strongly.

There are also a number of 'guest' entrants, including BRC regulars Guy Wilks, Mark Higgins and his brother David.

Indeed six of the P-WRC runners will be able to score points in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship - with Hanninen, Flodin and Eyvind Brynildsen also eligible.

Martin Rauam meanwhile will not compete due to economic reasons and his place will be taken by Egon Kaur. Darren Gass will also miss the round after sustaining an injury. He was due to compete for points in the BRC and the P-WRC.

Other significant entries:

80 plus crews due to start.

Around 85 crews are due to start the Wales Rally GB and amongst them there are no fewer than 21 WRC cars, with five of the manufacturer teams represented; the Munchi's Ford team not taking part in the Welsh forests.

Away from the manufacturer teams, Conrad Rautenbach and Sebatien Ogier will be at the wheel of semi-privateer Citroen C4s, while Mads Ostberg, Eamonn Boland and Gareth Jones will run Subaru Imprezas.

MotoGP star Valentino Rossi also returns to Rally GB in an M-Sport run Focus WRC supporting the BBC Children in Need appeal. He will be one of seven entries under the Stobart banner.

Of the rest, as well as the 25 crews in the P-WRC, another 39 will also take in the round.

17 will be eligible to score points in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship with three drivers - David Higgins, Mark Higgins and Guy Wilks - still in contention for the title. WRGB is also the final round of the Fiesta SportingTrophy International.

Urmo Aava - who was due to compete in a Citroen C4 WRC - has had to withdraw his entry.

Route:

Although the rally remains based in south Wales, major changes take competitors back to the classic mid-Wales forests of Hafren and Myherin for the first time in eight years. As a result the Brechfa Forest tests have been dropped. The start and finish remains in Cardiff with the service park again in Swansea's marina area, 70km away. The new mileage forms the bulk of the opening day, with two short spectator friendly tests at Walters Arena in Rheola Forest completing the action.

Saturday mixes the long Resolfen test in the Vale of Neath with the traditional tests further north, run in the opposite direction to 2007, before a modified stage inside Cardiff's spectacular Millennium Stadium.

The final day is based solely in the south. Drivers tackle 19 stages covering 348.99km in a route of 1428.44km.

Last year:

Mikko Hirvonen won the Wales Rally GB last year leading throughout and eventually finishing 15.2 seconds up on Marcus Gronholm, despite a scare in the final test. Sebastien Loeb completed the top three followed by Petter Solberg and Dani Sordo. Matthew Wilson, Chris Atkinson and Manfred Stohl rounded out the points' scorers in 6th, 7th and 8th.

In terms of retirees a number of drivers' failed to make it to the end, most noticeably Luis-Perez Companc, who crashed out on the final day, as well as Andreas Mikkelsen and Conrad Rautenbach. Jari-Matti Latvala and Henning Solberg both finished but had to SupeRally after visibility problems on day 1 in SS6.

 

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